Towards the end of summer 2020, Hive online book store had sold out of Akalas Natives, Cesaires Discourse on Colonialism, Kehinde Andrews Back to Black and multiple titles by Ibrahim Frantz Fanon. It’s safe to say that black literature was in vogue in light of multiple global BLM movements. There is now an eagerness to challenge western narratives around experiences of black communities as well as that of colonial history. Through a number of different processes, literature detailing this is not always known or available in mainstream bookshops. We have comprised a list of books for you to read that challenge western narratives:
The Autobiography of Malcolm X (Alex Haley and Malcom X)
The centrepiece and starting point for anyone trying to understand the context in which the civil rights movement in America took place. Painted as a violent racist, Malcolm X ironically did not commit one single act of violence after joining the Nation of Islam. His threat to the white establishment and way of life through unification and education of the black community caused widespread fear that resulted in multiple attempts on his life. This autobiography tells the nuanced story of a remarkable man dedicated to self-betterment, resolution and equality. The two greatest enemies of white America – Islam and the black man – are unpacked in a moving eulogy to one of the greatest individuals in American history.
Black and British (David Olusoga)
Britain’s relationship with black communities globally goes back much further than the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and Windrush. It is a long and complex history full of pain and suffering but also moments of greatness and resilience. In 'Black and British' Olusoga unpacks this history and sheds light on taught inconsistencies and mistruths.
Notes of a Native Son (James Baldwin)
In this series of essays Baldwin critiques a number of social and economic issues around race in America and Europe. Baldwin is arguably the greatest writer of the black civil rights movement. 'Notes of a Native Son' still holds weight and relevance in today’s society and remains a crucial read.
Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century (Kehinde Andrews)
In 'Back to Black' Kehinde challenges and retells the story of black politics that has been either diluted or manipulated to reaffirm a particular narrative. Kehinde explains how the very fabric of our economic and social existence is based on racism and the only way to overcome this is taking action outside of the already established framework of reform.